President Jacob Zuma
President Jacob Zuma on Friday, urged the members of society to follow in the footsteps of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Albert Luthuli by espousing the values of non-racism, justice, and ensure a better life for all.
“As our country’s experiment with constitutional democracy continues, this is one key lesson that we must take to heart from Chief Luthuli, even during difficult moments when we feel the non-racial project is faltering. We all have a responsibility to build a non-racial society and to unite all our people, black and white,” Zuma said.
“And in dealing with the problems facing the country, Chief Luthuli uttered the profound words on the need for courage that rises with danger. Indeed we are in that phase in our country where we need to be stronger, and more steadfast in defending and protecting our country and to consolidate democracy. We need courage that rises with danger.”
Zuma was addressing the 50th anniversary of the death of Luthuli, in Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal. He said Luthuli left behind a legacy of peace, non-racialism, anti-racism and the quest for freedom, justice and a better life for all.
Luthuli played several roles in the community. He was a traditional leader, preacher, Christian, teacher, college choirmaster, sports and cultural activist and a sugar cane farmer. He was elected president of the African National Congress in 1952 and served until his accidental death.
Zuma said every member of society was duty-bound to learn from Luthuli and find ways in which his ideals and values can find a practical expression in day to day lives. He said the values of respect, selflessness, openness and accountability all epitomise who Luthuli was.
“In this regard, and as Luthuli would have implored us, the values of our Constitution that so many sacrificed for should provide us with the moral and ethical edifice from which we can draw sustenance and a sense of purpose,” Zuma said.
“These values have a universal appeal as they are premised on Ubuntu – the sense that our survival and well-being is interdependent – that I am because we are. Chief Luthuli was a practical exponent of these values as exemplified in his quest for equality, especially gender equality, non-racialism, openness, respect and his fervent fight against all manifestation of tribalism.”
Zuma also hailed Luthuli’s contribution in the struggle against patriarchy, saying that he invited women in the village to participate in civil affairs and in the actual conflict resolution deliberations.